For years, cleaning business owners and BSC’s (building service contractors) were relegated to the “low tech” area of service industries, but no more. With the dawning of the information age and the introduction of simple tools like Google Analytics and Word Press blogs, themes and web sites, even those of us who don’t consider ourselves “geeks” are able to play on the internet stage.
And frankly, a well-designed website is now not only a key ingredient in the overall marketing plan for your cleaning business! Like a fax number 20 years ago it’s now considered a staple among serious companies seeking to compete in or dominate their markets.
With that in mind, I’ve identified 12 essentials that you can easily master and implement to help build and grow your cleaning company in record time.
This first segment (Part 1) gives an overview of the components and a brief description of each one. The remainder of the series will examine each in greater detail and show you what you need to know to transform your website into a lead generating machine! Let’s get started:
1. Define the problem
People searching for cleaning services (whether commercial or residential) are doing so because they have a problem (lack of cleaning or lack or good cleaning). This is where you come in. You want to make sure that your website clearly defines what the problem is (that you, of course are perfectly qualified to solve). So, whether it’s poor workmanship, lack of dependability, reliability etc., be sure that you address the problem so your ideal customers know that you are speaking to them. People buy not when they understand you, but when they feel that you understand them.
2. Provide the solution
Instead of spending a lot of time talking about your company (especially on the home page which is “prime real estate”), use the limited time that you have to capture the prospects’ attention with the solution that you offer. Remember, people don’t buy features, they buy solutions.
3. Gather contact information (conversion strategies)
You’ll want to be sure that you have some way to follow-up with people who don’t contact you or fill out the “please contact me” form on your site. The best way to do this is with an “irresistible free offer” of some type. They give you their contact information (usually an email) in exchange for the free item you’re offering be it a special report, white paper, check list, etc.
4. Call to action
Make sure that you encourage visitors to DO something and make sure the call to action is prominently displayed more than once on your site. Whether you want them to call, email or sign up for your free offer, make sure you tell them what to do in the simplest terms possible.
5. Social proof
References, quotes, testimonials, or “before and after” photos are a great way to let people know that you can back up your claims. Publicity, awards, new stories or interviews are all a great way to establish your credibility. People place much more value on what OTHERS say about you than what you say about yourself. Make sure you give them something.
6. Original, credible content (keyword rich)
Here’s your opportunity to establish yourself as an expert! A few well written blog posts, case studies, or even first person success stories about what you do and how you do it will not only make a favorable impression on your readers, it also makes you rank higher in search engines. This will help you get (and stay) on that all important first page of Google or other search engines. And let’s face it, it you’re not on the first page you may as well not be there at all. Most consumers don’t have the time or patience to search through 4 or 5 pages of search engine results.
7. Easy to navigate
This is a case of less being more. Make sure that you have a navigation bar “above the fold” and some developers also recommend one in your footer or side bar as well. Don’t clutter it with too many options and make sure the design is clean and simple. You don’t want prospects to become confused or frustrated while searching for the information they want on your site.
8. Social Media tie-ins
Almost all of the Word Press themes (which I highly recommend) have built in icons for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and if you’re really involved Pinterest might be a great place to pin some before and after photos of some of your job sites. You’ll want to cater your focus to the hang out spots of your target market, so do a little research. You want a basic presence and regular updates to stay current and competitive.
9. Visual appeal
You’ll want to have a pleasing mix between text and graphics and a fair amount of blank or “white” space so your site doesn’t appear disorganized or cluttered. In the cleaning industry your goal should be for colors and design that say “clean” and this is another area where less is more.
10. About us
Here’s your chance to talk about your favorite topic – your business! While you want to be careful about using adjectives like “best” or “greatest” it’s perfectly OK to talk about what sets your company apart from the rest. Mention awards, history, specialties, etc., here. It’s also a great idea to have an “interview with” section where you address questions. Including a picture of you and your team or even a short video (VERY popular lately) is a great idea.
11. Contact info
Keep this very clean and streamlined. Include your office number, fax line, hours, mailing address, email address and your social media links here. Make sure all links are in working order.
12. Statistics, tracking and analysis
This component is strictly for you the cleaning business owner, and can be as simple or complex as you desire. At a minimum, you’ll want to get a free account with Google Analytics and make sure you examine and track key indicators on a regular basis. These would be things like:
a. Unique visitors
b. Bounce rate
c. Time spent on site
d. Pages visited
e. Where your visitors are coming from
I am a huge proponent of measuring results. How can you manage (and improve) what you don’t measure?
Well, that wraps up the basic overview. In subsequent segments I’ll go into more detail about each of the components and share tips and best practices for implementing each one.